Somewhat lost amid the fast and furious nature of the coaching carousel — a consequence of the new early signing period is that schools wants new coaches now — is that there are nine conference title games this weekend, with one on Friday night and the other eight on Saturday.
Obviously, College Football Playoff spots are on the line, with each of the top four teams in the rankings in action (there also is a whole bunch of intrigue surrounding the team ranked fifth). But there also is going to be an immense amount of individual talent on display, including two of the top three Heisman contenders in Stanford running back Bryce Love in the Pac-12 championship game and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield in the Big 12 title matchup.
Removing some of the intrigue is that seven of the nine are rematches from the regular season. And these were not particularly close games, either. Get this: The closest of the seven was an 11-ppomt decision; all of the others were decided by at least 18 points, and three were decided by at least 27.
If nothing else, let’s hope for closer games this week.
And for recreational purpose only, of course, if you’re interested in the lines, the college football betting odds are right here.
Here’s a look at each of the nine conference championship games (the only league that doesn’t have one is the Sun Belt — and it will have one next season). They are listed alphabetically.
The matchup: Memphis (10-1) at UCF (11-0)
Time/TV: Noon, Saturday; ABC
The skinny: Memphis’ only loss came at UCF – 40-13 on September 30. That’s also the only time this season that Memphis was held to fewer than 30 points; UCF hasn’t scored fewer than 31 points in any game. These are the only teams in the nation that have scored at least 60 points three times this season, and ECU got to 70 twice and UCF to 70 once. The winner locks up the New Year’s Six bowl slot reserved for the highest-ranked team in the Group of Five. UCF QB McKenzie Milton has thrown for 3,301 yards and 30 TDs; he also has rushed for 429 yards and six TDs. Memphis QB Riley Ferguson has thrown for 3,500 yards and 32 TDs, and also has six rushing scores. This could be the final game at their respective schools for UCF’s Scott Frost and Memphis’ Mike Norvell; Frost, especially, is a hot commodity and seems bound for Nebraska.
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